Thursday, August 30, 2012

BOING!

Wednesday, August 29: Knox, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 33
Lot: Corner of Culver & Roosevelt

There was a laundromat less than a mile from the lot, so I walked there in the morning to wash my clothes. When I got back to the lot, I cleaned my trailer. Hooray for productivity!

Ryan and I later walked to the same area where the laundromat was to check out a hardware store. We browsed and located items we can use to build props for next year.
Ryan wanted to go ahead and purchase everything, but I dissuaded him because a) I don't want to add any more junk in my truck that we have to load and unload for the remaining 9 weeks, and b) it was all basic stuff we can buy when we're in Hugo.

My friends Beth Grimes and Kyle Winchester came to visit between shows. Kyle brought a bag full of delicious Asian snacks, and Beth brought a pair of Converse sneakers with paintings of me and Ryan on the sides that she did JUST THIS AFTERNOON! Amazing!



Kyle and Beth watched the second show, and once again they amazed the other performers with what good audience members they are.

I cracked our friends, a large portion of the audience, and myself up with a quip that I threw out in the package delivery bit.
As we were entering the ring, there was a teenager with a big, round, poofy hairdo sitting in my way. The instant I saw him, the words, "Holy afro, Batman!" escaped my lips.
I was very happy that my Tourette moment was so well received by the audience.

After the shows Beth and Kyle picked up some pizzas and we had a little party in my trailer. The chowing down and laughter we shared was a lot of fun, and kept me up way past my bedtime.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Poet And Heart Attack Overture

Tuesday, August 28: Hebron, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 30
Lot: Next to Family Express

After unloading the props, Ryan and I went to have lunch at a local eatery that I remembered from two years ago.
I saw this on the menu:



Now, as you all know, Ryan and I love competitive eating, but today neither of us felt like succumbing to cardiac arrest.
Danny, Tavana, and Arwen came in to dine as we were finishing our meals, and they seemed shocked and disappointed that we didn't give it the old college try.
You know the old saying though, "He who doesn't take the heart attack challenge today, lives to have a heart attack in another way!"
Or something like that.....

On our walk to lunch I spotted a market, so I was able to check grocery shopping off my to do list.

Today I watched Spike Jones during the shows to give me inspiration. I haven't watched any of his stuff in over a year; too long, if you ask me.
Here's one of my favorite Spike pieces:



The second audience tonight was great; they made performing a lot of fun. The first crowd was surprisingly lively as well.

Becky set up a deal with the bowling alley adjacent to the lot. She promised the woman running the joint that around 30 circus people would give her their business if she'd stay open about an hour later than usual.
She agreed, and sure enough after the shows about 30 people wandered over to eat and bowl. It was a lot of fun, and I surprised myself with how well I did. My score was in the triple digits; I can't remember the last time I bowled that well.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Muddy Mornin'

Monday, August 27: Chesterton, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 53
Lot: Dogwood Park

Last night around 10 p.m., most of the semis and some of the trailers pulled off the lot since rain was expected all night and into the morning.
I saw that a decent amount of folks stayed put for the evening, so I decided to do the same.

When I woke up in the morning, it was raining steadily and the ground was feeling soft underfoot.
I tried my best not to get stuck as I exited the lot, but I drove right through the area where the elephants had been washed yesterday, and I buried my truck's tires into the mud.
I was very worried that I was going to be the only idiot that got stuck, but most everyone else that spent the night on the lot ended up in the same predicament. That made me feel a little better.

The bobcat was brought over, and my front bumper was hooked to it via chains. The machine had a heck of a time pulling me out of my ruts; once I put my truck into 4 wheel drive, I finally started to make some headway, but it was still a battle the whole way to the street.

We entered the central time zone on our drive today; we were lucky, because the show definitely needed that extra hour to deal with getting vehicles out of the muddy mess on the Lakeville lot.

When I arrived in Chesterton, I noticed that the entrance to the lot, a gateway, was already torn up and muddy.


I stopped and exited my truck so I could ask Alex, the 24 hour man, what he wanted me to do.
He told me to stick to the left side of the gate and to take it slow. I did as he said, and all was going well until my trailer hit the muck. I threw my truck into 4 wheel drive again and got through with no problem.

One of the trailers got stuck in the entrance, which held things up for awhile until it could be pulled out of the way.
Obviously it took longer than usual to get everything set up, but with the time zone change on the show's side, things weren't too far behind schedule.

Ryan and I had a business meeting this morning about things we need to get accomplished in the next couple of months. It was a good way to get us both motivated.

It was a sunny day, which helped dry the ground. The earth was still soft in certain spots under the big top, but the only area that suffered was the space between the back door and the ring. It was torn up by the end of the night from the elephants walking back and forth for their rides during Intermission.

The second crowd was great. I tell ya, if all the audiences were as responsive as they were, my job would never seem like work!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Slap It On!

Sunday, August 26: Lakeville, IN-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 36
Lot: Wilson Property

Circus fan, David Reddy, Circus Hall of Fame ringmaster, John Fugate, and the younger son of Emmett Kelly, Pat Kelly, were all at the first show today.
I went out to visit at Intermission. We saw David at the Amish restaurant last night, but I haven't seen John and Pat since we played Peru, IN earlier in the season.

It was tough to get motivated today. I was so tired of my daily routine that I put my make up on as fast as I could just to shake things up a bit.
(Coincidentally, it looked something like this:

)

It started to rain between shows, and it continued for the rest of the evening. That didn't stop me, Radar, and Elisa from going out and having a nice night on the town in South Bend, though.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Triple D!

Wednesday, August 22: Grand Haven, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 61
Lot: Harbor Island

This morning Ryan and I drove to the next town over so we could shop for fabric at JoAnn's. We were very disappointed in their selection. We thought it was sad that even though we went for only three things, we could only find one. On the plus side, the one item we bought was the thing we were most worried about finding.

I drove to downtown Grand Haven this afternoon so we could walk around and see the sights.
We found a great used bookstore where I picked up a Laurel and Hardy book; I couldn't remember if I had it already, but at the low price the owner was selling it, I would have been stupid not to buy it.

There was a huge camp group made up of kids that was taking up the majority of a seat wagon at the first show. At the start of the second half, they all got up and filed out of the tent.
I watched them all leave as I was playing my cornet; it was a depressing sight. I'm not sure why they couldn't have left during the 20 minute Intermission, or God forbid, finish watching the show.

My friends and fans, the Agular family, came to see me at the second show. I spent the whole Intermission visiting with them. Unfortunately, Landon, the father of the family, couldn't make it, but it was still great to see them.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Thanks Grandma!

Sunday, August 19: Fowlerville, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 38
Lot: High School

This morning I had a nice chat with Barry Lubin on FB. He gave me a good "butt kicking" talk that really helped motivate me.
Ryan and I had a long discussion about what he said, and in the shows today I started finding spots in the gags to play around.

I am glad that I did. Besides helping me break out of my robotic performing routine, I think it also helped us get better reactions out of the crowd than we would have doing the gags normally.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Love Holly!

Saturday, August 18: Holly, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 34
Lot: Corner of Holly & Quick Rd.

Holly, MI is one of my favorite towns to play. The people are so receptive and take good care of us while we're in town.

Yvonne, the owner of a bar/restaurant in town called Broadstreet Station, in collaboration with the Friends of the Library, put on a luncheon for everyone on the show. This was the second year this event was held.
The meal was delicious, and everyone was just as nice as they could be. I got to visit with my friend, Katy, who works hard on bringing the circus back to Holly every year, and I also got to catch up with Jessica, who was gracious enough to take me and Dan Reynolds around town last year.
One of the highlights of the meal was the dessert. Bonnie made her delicious lemon bars that I fell in love with last year. Mmmmmmmmm.

 Me with Katy at the first show
 Me and Nico visit with Jessica and Soloman
Bonnie, who knows the way to my heart: sugar!

After lunch Katy took me downtown to sample the goods at Zanie Janie's, a coffee shop. Janie makes her own coffee, and from the samples I tried, I can tell you that it is delicious!
Janie was nice enough to give me a free fro co (not to be confused with the hobbit that set out to destroy the One Ring); I made sure to tip her well for her generosity.

Zanie Janie and Stupid Steve

There was a trashcan in the back yard, right behind my trailer, so I took advantage of the convenience and did some major cleaning in my house.

At the second show, Ashley and her family were in the audience. Ashley was my karaoke buddy last year, and her daughter, Abbey, was nice enough to make a bracelet for me.

My awesome bracelet, and my pirate impression (I guess...)

One of my avid blog readers, Paul, was also at the second show with his family. Paul's son, Gavin, is a big fan, and he made a picture for me that he has been holding on to since last year.

I think Gavin nailed my likeness

The ring mat that the show uses has a star in the center of it. The edges of said star have been ripping, and Ryan and I are always catching our feet in the tears.
In the second surfboard gag, I was lying on the mat with the board on top of me. I went to push it further down my body so I could see over the edge, and the end of the board caught in a rip and stopped.
This caused me to bash my nose into the pointed end of the surfboard.
I swear that red flashed in front of my eyes, and I was close to jumping up in a rage and ripping the star off the mat with my bare hands.
Luckily Ryan stood on the surfboard to keep me from going into nuclear meltdown mode, and my nose wasn't bleeding like I thought it was.

After the shows, Katy's husband, Jason, was nice enough to give me, Radar, and Elisa a ride downtown.
We ate dinner at the Blackthorn Irish Pub, where the food and the Guinness were both delicious.
We were accompanied by another of my karaoke buddies from last year, Jesse, who is also the mayor of Holly.
Jesse, who is 27 (a year younger than me), has been mayor for 4 years. It's things like that that really make me realize how little I've accomplished with my life.  :oD

After putting his children to bed, Paul came out and joined us. He was nice enough to buy my dinner for me. Thanks Paul!
When we were finished with our meal, Jesse gave us a walking tour of Holly, and we ended up at Broadstreet Station to visit with Katy and her husband.

We enjoyed some more talk and libations, which Katy was nice enough to pay for.
I was very happy with my fun, full day in Holly. I can't wait to come back again next year!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Atchison! Bless You.

Friday, August 17: New Hudson, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 10
Lot: Atchison Park

This morning's jump was incredibly short, but I had to wait awhile to leave because I was blocked in by other vehicles.

After getting settled at the new lot, I walked to a shopping center about a mile away so I could enjoy a cup of coffee and do some shopping for necessities at Walmart (not too much though, since I had to carry whatever I bought back with me).

The weather was beautiful today; it wasn't too hot, and we had great audiences.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Get Outta My Way!!!

Thursday, August 16: Wixom, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 31
Lot: Gilbert Willis Park

This morning Ryan brought over a tentative running order for the 2013 Kelly Miller Circus. We talked about our involvement in the show and our new gags. We also began ordering supplies for props and costumes.

Tavana tipped me off about a funny location of one of our posters:


I think they're trying to tell us something!

The audiences tonight were great; however, we experienced a couple of hurdles. 
When we run into the ring to do opening, there is a guy wire hanging incredibly low that has been blocking our path more and more each day.
In the second show I seriously could not get by it. The wire was so low that it hit my waist as I tried to run past. I couldn't go to my left because the tiger arena was there, and if I went to my right, there was a quarter pole in the way.
Ryan and I got "tangled" in the rigging for an almost uncomfortable amount of time, before finally freeing ourselves to begin the opening. 

To continue with the theme of obstacles in our way: before package delivery Ryan and I were entering the marquee tent from the side, and we almost stepped on a baby!
A lady was changing her baby on the ground right where we enter the marquee; it gave us quite a start.
I should have asked the lady if she could change me next.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Talking To A Duck

Wednesday, August 15: Pinckney, MI-4:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Miles: 37
Lot: St Mary Church grounds

This morning I stopped to fill up my tank. Gas was $4.09 a gallon! That's it, next year I'm taking a bicycle and camping tent on tour!

The track around the seating area was incredibly slick tonight. Ryan and I almost busted our butts a few times running around in the package delivery bit.

I was playing around in the surfboard gag and got a nice laugh from a bit I improvised. Hopefully it wasn't a one time deal.

Sorry folks, that's all I've got for today! Enjoy some Otto Griebling!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fulfillment

Tuesday, August 14: Plymouth, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 12
Lot: Central Middle School

My friends from Detroit, Elizabeth and Emily, came to take me to lunch this afternoon. After our meal we walked around downtown Plymouth; it is a great town with lots of cool little stores and eateries.

The audiences tonight were great. After the first show I went out to get my friends so I could visit with them in my trailer.
A few people stopped me to say hello and to take pictures. One family came over with a baby and a little boy, who was maybe 4 years old. The parents told me that the little boy saw us two years ago and has since become a huge fan of the circus and clowns. Every night he watches me and Ryan on Youtube.

Inspiring the next generation...THAT is why I do what I do! Peace, I'm out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Swag!

Monday, August 13: Redford, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 25
Lot: Bell Creek Park

On this morning's jump I left the Interstate at one point, and then I couldn't get back on because of construction. I had to take a long detour, and I was even delayed waiting for a slow moving train to cross the road.
Needless to say, once I got back on the route, I was one of the last vehicles in the circus convoy.

Our friend, Rick, was visiting today. He brought kielbasa sausages that he cooked for me, Radar, and the Combs family. He also brought us a big cake, and a case of Guinness for me.
In addition, he gave me a package from our friend in Maryland, Carol. It was full of goodies for her favorite Kelly Miller people.

Rick was nice enough to help me run errands this afternoon. I got groceries, and I went to the post office to mail some swag to some of our fans.
There was a lady at the post office with two misbehaving children that were running around screaming and crying the whole time I was there (which was quite awhile unfortunately). I was about to go out of my mind by the time I left (I even had to step over the little girl, who decided to lie down right in front of me in line).
Now you know why I have a duck instead of kids! (Yeah, like that's the only reason.......)

The audiences tonight were fantastic. I love performing in Michigan!
Rick and some of his friends and co-workers watched the second performance. Also in attendance was my friend, Aji Slater, and his wife, Mina. Aji was a clown on Ringling back in 2009, and his wife was the assistant production manager.

After the show the Slaters were nice enough to treat me to dinner. They have been on a road trip for many weeks, so their VW bug was packed tight. The only room for me was lying in the trunk.
That brought back a lot of memories of my first year on Ringling when I was curled up in the fetal position at the back of the clown car with a guy sitting on my head.
Luckily it was just me in the back this time.

We had a heck of a time finding a restaurant that was open past 10 p.m. on a Monday night in Redford (take note anyone that might be there in the future). Even restaurants that are normally open 24 hours were closed early.
We finally found an Italian restaurant that was open, so we ate, and laughed, and talked of times past. (That last part should be read in a British accent)

In closing, here is a website with photos from our show in Northfield, OH. Thanks to our friend, Rick, for finding the link:
http://tjpowell.net/2012/08/clowns-of-the-kelly-miller-circus/



Monday, August 13, 2012

Picture Perfect

Sunday, August 12: Ypsilanti, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 13
Lot: Lakeshore Apts. Golf Course

Today was a nice, sunny day. On top of the good weather, we had friends visiting us. Carol and Johnny Thompson came bearing lots of gifts for me, the Combs family, and Radar.
I received a copy of Dick Van Dyke's autobiography, a jar that reads "Steve's Man Cave Snacks" (Carol brought me a Steve's Man Cave floor mat last year. Next, a flashing neon sign!), and an awesome laundry bag with pockets for detergent, change, etc. I made out like a bandit!

During the shows today I watched "The Greatest Show on Earth". I was talking to Eggroll earlier today as he was heading to Big Apple winter quarters, and he said that his arrival would be like that of "The Great Sebastian", since Eggroll is the last performer to arrive (rehearsals begin on Monday).
Him saying that made me want to watch the movie again. There are so many corny lines in the film that Ryan and I get much enjoyment from, but besides that I genuinely do enjoy it.

In addition to showering us with gifts, the Thompsons also treated us to dinner at a Mexican restaurant after the shows.
Towards the end of our meal, some of the Fuscos came in to dine; they had with them Yvinson, who is the clown on Circus Pages.

Ryan and I worked with Yvinson on Ringling in 2006. Pages was only 20 miles or so from us today; it was good to see him and briefly catch up.

In closing, here are a few great shots that I purchased from John Tremblay earlier this year.

Cut To The Chase-2011

Knocked For A Loop

The Calm Before The Storm

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Peek A Boo!

Saturday, August 11: Wayne, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 57
Lot: Attwood Park

It was another dreary, overcast day; luckily it didn't rain again. My agent suit (main costume) and clown shoes were still soaked from the deluge last night. Nothing could dry.

About 15 minutes before the show, Mike the drummer ran up and asked if I had a CD with our new music tracks on it. I told him to ask Ryan.
The show's computer crashed close to showtime, and the back up music was loaded onto another computer. The only tracks that were missing were our new opening, the new ending to the package delivery bit, and the song we play at the start of the second half.
Damn us and our fickle fancies!

Ryan gave the band a CD with the tracks that were missing, but none of them played during the show. It wasn't that big a deal for the opening and second half opening, but without the track for package delivery, the gag had no ending.
I stumbled through an ad lib to get us out of the ring, and I don't think the audience was any the wiser.

Luckily our music cues were all fixed for the second show. Both audiences were fantastic today, which helped me get over the hiccups in the first show. I think Wayne was very excited about the circus being in town.
I don't know why, when this horrifying sight was advertised on the front of the monthly paper:

Lock your doors! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Patron Saint Of Meh

Friday, August 10: Sylvania, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 20
Lot: Pacesetter Park

This morning when we pulled onto the lot, I was relieved to see that it was a new location. Most importantly, it was on cement. With all the rain that the area has received, and with the possibility of even more today, the grassy lot we usually play in Sylvania would have been a nightmare.

I went to do laundry, and when I came back, the big top was already up; it was finished much earlier than usual.
I had promised a local circus fan, John Bolster, that I would meet with him and his group after the tent raising tour, and it appeared that I was late.

I parked by my trailer and headed straight for the midway. I ran into John at the ticket office and accompanied him to the marquee where his group was waiting.
I talked with them briefly about my background and answered any questions that they had.

After that I put away my laundry and headed back into town to run errands for the afternoon. Being on Kelleys Island on Monday and Tuesday really threw off my normal weekly schedule.

Rocco Paris, a former Ringling clown, brought his family back to see us today. They came to see us in Dayton back in May, but Rocco's youngest son, Alex, is a huge fan of ours, so they came to see us one more time before we left Ohio.
Rocco brought a huge portrait of himself from when he was on Ringling.



He told me to hang it up at Winter Quarters so he can be our "clown patron saint". I think the disappointed look on his face is quite apropos for the work Ryan and I churn out in the winter.

John Bolster and his group were also at the first performance, and John provided pizza (from the East of Chicago restaurant [plug plug]) and salad for dinner in the cookhouse.

After the shows Ryan and I had a great visit with the Paris family. I wish it could have lasted longer, but the pesky 7:30 show got in the way.
While we were visiting it began to rain. I walked with Rocco and his family out to their cars so they could use my umbrellas.

It continued to rain throughout the second show, sometimes very hard, and water began to pool in the low spots backstage. The inside of the tent was remarkably dry compared to the back door, but after all of us tracked the water onto the ring mat, it was pretty nasty.

Ryan and I were being as careful as possible on the wet ring mat. I know I've said it before, but the danger makes it worth repeating: that ring mat, when wet and on top of cement, coupled with our traction-less clown shoes, is like ice.

We had friends in the audience for the 7:30 show. I'm upset they didn't get to see our A game due to our extreme caution. Luckily both crowds were great, even with the in climate weather.

Justin Bennett, his friend Andrew...er, Jon, Jon's girlfriend, Kasedy, as well as Andrea and her friend, Dennis, were our friends at the second show.
After work they took me out to dinner, and Justin was nice enough to buy my meal. Andrea also brought me a box of chocolates (which my Mama always said life was like) as gratitude for the tickets that I set up for her.

Justin and Andrea are aspiring clowns, and Andrea just returned from Moosecamp, which is my "clown alma mater". Needless to say, we all had plenty to talk about.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Point To The Place!

Thursday, August 9: Point Place, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 30
Lot: Friendship Park

This morning a lot of people showed up for the tent raising. One group made themselves at home under Ryan's RV awning; one man even got comfortable sitting on Ryan's doorstep. When they moved on, they left all their trash under the awning.
What nice, classy people!

Becky came by my trailer after the tent raising with a box of donuts. She told me that the lady who brought them for us was still around if I wanted to thank her.
When we walked over, I recognized the lady as Mary, a classmate of mine from Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp back in 2000 and 2001.
We caught up a bit and she told me that she was coming to the 4:30 show. I don't believe I've seen her since the last day of camp in '01, but she said she's been to Kelly Miller before.

It was a dreary, overcast day, but the audiences tonight were fantastic. Oh how easy it would be if they could all be as good as the 7:30 crowd....

After the show there was a knock on my door. It was Barb, a circus fan that knows our friends (and tent founders) the Freestate Clown Alley #30. We chatted shortly and she passed along her greetings from the Alley.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

MTV

Wednesday, August 8: Gibsonburg, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 40
Lot: Williams Park

Ryan and I watched a good Spanish horror film this morning called "Rec". I highly recommend it if you like to be scared.

While I was walking around this afternoon, I discovered a pond right next to the front yard.
I took Emmie over to swim, but he didn't want to leave my side (i.e. he was biting my legs the whole time). It was too deep for me to wade out with him, so I tossed him out to the middle a couple of times. As soon as he hit the water, he would jet back to solid ground. I finally gave up; it was too hot to be standing around outside for too long anyway.

Rich Deptula came back by today to drop off photos for me and Ryan of our visit to his house on Sunday.
He also brought a great surprise gift for me, the 118th Edition Ringling program from 1989. That was the first circus I saw as a child, and I have been looking for that program for years. I have the program from 1988, the first year of the tour, but the second year version (with the clowns that I saw) is very difficult to find online.
I was so happy that Rich gave me his copy. It was a great gift that really made my day.

Bob Wink, a shrine clown from Bowling Green, came by to say hello before the shows. He watched the first performance with his wife, and afterwards he came by my trailer and dropped off a fruit free roll for me and Ryan. We were definitely enjoying hospitality and generosity today.

Some of the circus kids (under the direction of Delena), were going around filming clips of people from the show dancing.
It's going to be made into a music video that should be hilarious. As soon as I can get my grubby paws on a copy, I'll post it here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bye Bye KI

Tuesday, August 7: Kelleys Island, OH-4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

This morning I drove out by the beach to walk a cool nature trail I found last year. I had a nice stroll, except I found every cobweb in my path.



My favorite sights were the areas where I was able to get off the path and walk along the lake, and also the creepy abandoned building in the middle of the woods.


As I walked away I kept expecting to look back and see a mask wearing, machete wielding maniac chasing me.

I had a lot of fun at the beach today; I played in the water for awhile with Ryan, Nico, Armando, and his family.

After a day of fun in the sun, I finally dropped my golf cart off at the rental place. That is always the saddest moment on Kelleys Island, because then I know the party will soon be over.

We had a rough hillbilly gag in the first show. For some reason the music started skipping in the middle of the gag. Since a lot of our bits in the rag slapping portion of the act are timed to the music, we just had to plow through that section.
We rushed through the rest of the gag and the music was finally back on track for the blow off. I hate when the audience sees us do a bad job.

Fletcher Runyan, who performs on the low wire, was appearing with us today. His act went in the second half, before Becky's trapeze.

Getting off Kelleys Island can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but tonight I timed everything perfectly. Usually I am stuck for awhile on the lot because everyone is parked so tight among the trees.

Radar was gone before the second half was finished though, and with him out of the way I had a clear shot to the road.
He called me shortly before the show finished and let me know that the ferry wasn't leaving until a few more circus vehicles had arrived. I planned to be one of those vehicles.

During the rest of the second half, I was packing up my house and getting it ready for travel. As soon as finale ended, I threw off my costume, put on my jumpsuit and hat, and drove off the lot while still in make up.
My plan worked out perfectly. I was driving away from the tent before any of the public had even begun to leave the parking lot.
Radar, Carolyn, and I were the lucky three that got to leave the island on a ferry shortly after the show had ended.



Ah, sweet success!

I was getting drowsy during the drive to Gibsonburg, so I was grateful that I didn't have to wait any longer than I did to actually hit the road.

Unfortunately my bedtime was delayed once I arrived to the next town, because some higher power takes a perverse pleasure in seeing my trailer fall off its blocks.
I've been lucky the few times that it has happened this year, because I've always been able to correct the situation without the aid of a forklift.
I guess I should finally listen to the advice that Becky gave me a few months ago and start chalking my trailer's wheels before I unhook.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

KI

Monday, August 6: Kelleys Island, OH-4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Miles: 60
Lot: Ball field

I was in such a deep sleep this morning that I didn't even hear the tent stakes being pounded. When I woke up I wondered if everything was late; I looked outside I saw they were already raising the big top.

I went over to make some lunch plans with Radar and Elisa, and I saw the KM WQ caretaker, Dudley, his daughter, Carol, and her husband, Rich. I was surprised to see them on the island. It turns out that a friend of Dudley's owns a bed and breakfast here; she paid for his trip up here because he helped her out by giving an interview for a circus project she was working on.

This afternoon I went joy riding around the island, and I also stopped by the beach for a quick dip in the water.
The rest of my time I spent looking through the different shops around town.

The people on Kelleys Island love our show. Last night there were big crowds lining the roads when we got off the ferry. Everyone was smiling, waving, cheering, and shouting, "Welcome!"
That support continued tonight for the performances.

After work a lot of people from Kelly Miller ended up at the Village Pump, which is the island hangout.
Mr. North was generous enough to buy everyone's dinner. Yeah, our boss rocks.

I always enjoy joy riding around the island in the evening, but tonight there was a cold wind blowing, and I just wasn't comfortable.
A few people were going bar hopping, but I declined. I was worn out and wanted to get a decent night's sleep so I could enjoy my last day on the island.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Stratford Upon

Sunday, August 5: Avon, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 45
Lot: K of C Grounds

During the night I had a bad dream. It started off with me in my trailer. I heard the music that starts the second half, and I was not dressed.
I threw on my costume, but of course it took me much longer than normal. By the time I made it to the back door, Ryan had just finished playing our song on his cornet.
I figured I would make a bit out of being late. My plan was to run into the ring after Ryan, start playing the same song, and then slowly realize that I was late.
As I got to the center of the ring, I held the horn up to my mouth, and the mouthpiece fell out.

About that time in the dream, the sponsor came into the ring and started trying to be funny with me. I was in a bad mood from being late, so I got into an argument with the sponsor, right in front of a paying audience.
The dream ended as I was storming back to my trailer with Ryan trailing behind trying to console me with the fact that the number went much better without me. (Wow, what a pal!)

Just then my alarm went off and I woke up. Even though I knew it wasn't real, all the pent up anger from the dream put me in a foul mood for the start of the drive.
After putting some miles under my belt, I started to feel better. What a way to start off my morning!

Last year in Avon the ground at the lot was too soft for us to park on. All of the trailers were parked across the street from the tent, and without power.
In anticipation of a repeat of that set up, I had Castro fix my generator a few days ago, and I made sure that I had plenty of spare fuel just in case.
Luckily the ground was solid, and our lot layout was a normal one.

Rich Deptula came by this morning and invited me and Ryan to his house to see his circus collection. His whole basement is like a circus museum, with posters, wardrobe, props, and even a model circus that he made.





Ryan and I were most interested in his vast assemblage of photos. We perused many binders packed with 8x10 clown photographs.

While we were gone there was a good amount of rain, but the sun had come out by the time we got back to the lot; it was incredibly humid though.

In the second hillbilly gag, Ryan and I had just commenced the rag slapping portion of the act. My first hit to Ryan's face just about knocked him for a loop.
After the act, Ryan asked why the rag had packed such a wallop. I answered truthfully, "It may have gotten wrapped around my fist a bit...."
(I wonder if that was an unconscious reaction to the dream I had last night?)

Next, in the skeleton chase, the skeleton's foot fell off. I told Ryan that the skeleton must have had a good idea.
(Any "Black Adder" fans should appreciate that joke)

After the shows everyone had to make the jump to Kelleys Island. I tried to hurry off the lot when the show ended, but I had a difficult time hooking up my truck and trailer.
Those precious few minutes cost me an earlier trip over to the island on the ferry. I had to wait awhile, but I finally squeezed onto a boat with the elephants and tigers.

After I was parked on the Kelleys Island lot, I was just about to walk over to pick up a golf cart when Ryan pulled up in one that he got for me. What a friend; even though I punched him earlier in the day!

Radar, Elisa, and I had dinner at the Village Pump. A group of young people invited us to join them at the bar. Once they found out we were with the circus, they seemed to lose interest in us. Well, all except for the one whack-a-doo hippie guy that performed with fire.

Lucky and Vickie, the Kelly Miller band from the last several years, have come out to visit for the Kelleys Island date. We saw them as we were leaving the Pump. It was good to see them again.

The three of us drove a lap around the island, and then we called it an early night. We're getting so old!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Schotzy Lulu

Saturday, August 4: New London, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 59
Lot: Recreation Park

The last 25 miles of the jump this morning just seemed to go on, and on, and on, and.....

....on, and on, and on!

It was a hot, sweaty day. The second show in particular was tough to get through.

I borrowed John Moss' air compressor to make sure my trailer tires were filled up. I want everything to be ready to go for the jump to Kelleys Island tomorrow night.

I was talking on the phone with my friend, Jeff Schott, after the shows, and he warned me of storms that were heading our way.
I started to hear thunder and see lightning flashing, so I excused myself from the conversation so I could get Emmie loaded up before things got bad.
Luckily I was done before the rain hit. If we got any terrible weather during the night, I slept right through it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Titan Against A Titan

Friday, August 3: Northfield, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 59
Lot: Northfield Village Retirement Grounds

Doug Kreust and Ed Limbach both came by this morning to say hello and invite me to lunch, but Ryan and I had some work to do on props, so I had to decline. We spent some time re-taping the big box for the package delivery bit, and we had to coat the hillbilly club in glue. We used the wrong kind of latex to make the club, and it has been deteriorating throughout the year.

I took a walk this afternoon and saw a bunch of our posters in the shopping center next door. Right next to ours were posters for Piccadilly Circus; they were playing in the same town as us, on the same day, and with the same showtimes!



They have been here since Wednesday, and they continue through Sunday. Right after I saw the poster, Ryan called and said that Tatiana had spotted their tent only a few blocks away from ours.
I walked the half a mile to where they were set up; they were located where we pitched our tent last year.



Today was a great mail day. Our biggest fan, Alex Paris, sent some great photos that he drew of me and Ryan. Thanks Alex!



Doug Kreust and Bruce Lish also sent gifts to Ryan in regards to our last Lane Talburt video interview. (Watch at 4:52) Thanks for the laughs, guys!



We had great crowds today, especially considering the unusual circumstances of two circuses competing for customers.
Go Kelly Miller!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Creek In My Neck

Thursday, August 2: Minerva, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 25
Lot: Brock Park

The route slip warned us that we were going to be set up on a difficult lot. The tent and the majority of the vehicles were inside ball field surrounded by a fence; it was pretty tight in certain areas.
One tight spot in particular was where I was parked. I had a guy line from the tent preventing me from pulling my truck very far from my trailer; this made unloading the hillbilly box difficult since it is so heavy that we require ramps to get it out of the truck. We managed, but barely.



I'm not sure why I couldn't have been parked in this area, where I would have had plenty of room to easily remove the props.



I even arrived early in Minerva; I was the second trailer to be parked inside the fenced off area.
Oh well, what do I know? I'm just a clown :o)

Since we were by a little creek, and I had seen ducks swimming in it earlier, I took Emmie for a little exercise.
I wore my bathing suit and boots so I could go in with him. At first he was mostly interested in trying to kill me, but finally he relaxed and enjoyed swimming and bathing in the water.




video

There was a family from town admiring him, so I went over and talked to them for ahwile. I was proud of Emmie, he stood right by me the whole time and didn't attempt to tear me limb from limb like usual.

Jeff Potts was visiting with us again today; in fact, he made the jump with us this morning. We helped him develop some solo gags for the show he is creating. It was fun to get our creative juices flowing.

In closing, here's an article from the paper in Massillon talking about our show on Wednesday:

http://www.indeonline.com/features/x1519321046/Circus-comes-to-town

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Herky, Bungles, And Jerky & Jerky

Wednesday, August 1: Massillon, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 34
Lot: K of C grounds

This morning Ryan and I met up with Dale Smith, aka Herky the Clown. Herky is a former Kelly Miller clown, and he's a celebrity in Massillon (he even has his own Herky Day); it was fun to see so many people recognize him out of make up while we were chatting at the tent raising.
Herky and his family treated us to breakfast; the food and company were great.

After our visit with Herky, Jeff Potts came out to visit again. He took us to his house outside of town so he could show us his latest project. He has a cargo trailer with a built in stage that folds out. The whole set up is pretty sharp; I can't wait to see the finished project.

When Jeff dropped us off back at the lot, I ran into Doug Kruest. He brought fresh peaches and tomatoes to a bunch of folks on the show; they are delicious.

At the start of the first show, Tom Purcell made a surprise presentation to Herky. It was a plaque honoring his 25 years of clowning (the 1987 class of Ringling Clown College, of which Herky was a student, began its session on August 1st).

Jeff got into make up for the shows today, so Ryan and I incorporated him and Herky into the musical number we play at the start of the second half. Jeff played the tuba, and Herky conducted our little band.
We're not going to win any Grammys, but we had fun.







Here we are beating a hasty retreat before the tomatoes began flying.

After the first show there was a knock on my door; I answered to find Laurie and her son, Steven. Two years ago, they were backstage before the show, and I talked to them and answered their questions.
Last year, Jim Royal got a call at the home office from Laurie. She wanted me to give her sons a backstage tour of the circus, specifically because it was Steven's birthday when we were in town.
I gave the boys a tour in the afternoon, and then I visited with their family during the show.

Laurie and Steven watched the first performance today, and they just wanted to come by and say hello. I loaded Steven up with some Steve & Ryan swag, and we autographed his program.
It was nice that they thought to come see me.

After the shows Jeff had me and Ryan back over to his house for dinner. His wife made tacos that were delicious. I ate way more than I should have.
My favorite part of the evening was being introduced to floor ball....er....carpet ball!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpetball

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

That's Pretty Darn Green!

Tuesday, July 31: Hartville, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 32
Lot: Hartville Market Place

Our friend, Jeff Potts, came by this morning to take me and Ryan to breakfast. When we got back to the lot, we saw Radar talking with a local woman; she was such a sweetheart that she went out and bought big, deep tubs for the tigers to play in.
Radar filled them up with water, and the tigers had a blast swimming and splashing.

As the lady was leaving, she was admiring my duck and asked if I was willing to sell him. I told her I couldn't bear to part with him.
After hearing that she spent close to $600 on the tubs for the tigers, I began to reconsider her offer...

Jeff took us to a giant hardware store next to the lot. If Ryan and I had half of the equipment the store was selling, we could crank out new props like there was no tomorrow.
My favorite part of the establishment was the model houses inside the store. Seeing how nice some of them were made me want to trade in my big shoes and trailer for a business suit and a real life.
The grass is always greener.....

Later in the afternoon Jeff took me to an RV place and the post office. The owner of the RV store was smart and put flyers all over the lot advertising 10% off equipment today only.
Unfortunately they didn't really have anything I needed.

The Moss family came back to the circus today. It was nice to see them again; everything returned to its normal flow once more.

We had good audiences tonight; they helped make up for the dangerous ground we were working on. There were stray rocks everywhere, and we even saw some sharp pieces of metal sticking up in arbitrary locations.

Since we were on soft ground and rain was expected overnight, everyone moved after the shows to the parking lot of the giant hardware store next door.
Jeff, Radar, the Combs family, and I had a pizza party in Ryan's RV once we were all settled.